Gildenhuys, Faith. “Convention and Consciousness in Prior’s Love Lyrics.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 35, no. 3 (Summer, 1995): 437. The poetry of Prior was part of the growing eighteenth century interest in women as subjects rather than simply objects of male passion. The amorous lyrics of Prior and their popularity are examined.
Kline, Richard B. “Tory Prior and Whig Steele: A Measure of Success?” Studies in English Literature 9(Summer, 1969): 427-437. Any evaluation of Prior’s poetry must recognize the intensely active role that politics played in his life and work. By pairing Prior with the redoubtable Whig Sir Richard Steele, Kline provides a nice sense of the complex political climate of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Nelson, Nicholas H. “Narrative Transformations: Prior’s Art of the Tale.” Studies in Philology 90, no. 4 (Fall, 1993): 442. Discusses four verse tales written by Prior that Samuel Johnson found effective: “Hans Carvel,” “The Ladle,” “Protogenes and Apelles,” and “Paolo Purgatani and His Wife: An Honest, but a Simple Pair.”
Rippy, Frances Mayhew. Matthew Prior. New York: Twayne, 1986. An excellent assessment of Prior’s life and work, and, given the paucity of critical materials, an invaluable sourcebook. Includes a chronology and a bibliography.
Sitter, John. “About Wit: Locke, Addison, Prior, and the Order of Things.” In Rhetorics of Order/Ordering of Rhetorics in English Neoclassical Literature, edited by J. Douglas Canfield and J. Paul Hunter. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989. A very nice attempt to place Prior within the early neoclassical tradition—a tradition influenced as much by the empiricist philosophy of Locke as by the “classics.”
Thorson, James L. “Matthew Prior’s ’An Epitaph.’” Explicator 51, no. 2 (Winter, 1993): 84. Prior’s “An Epitaph” is discussed. Prior’s theme, that retiring to the country in not an ideal but, to a thoughtful person, a sentence of mental and moral death, is beautifully exemplified.